WCASS Member Awards

WCASS is fortunate to count among its ranks many outstanding members who work tirelessly on behalf of their school districts and Wisconsin's children, particularly those with special needs. The following awards are an opportunity to showcase WCASS members' contributions to their districts, and to provide the public with a better understanding of the exemplary work WCASS members do to benefit students. To see a history of the WCASS awards click here. 

Member awards include:

Outstanding Special Services Administrator Award

  • 2016 – Kurt Eley
  • 2015 – Matt Collins 
  • 2014 – Tammy Nyen
  • 2010 – Greg Nyen
  • 2009 – Ann Wickland and Julie Holbrook
  • 2008 – Eric Hartwig and Fred Wollenburg
  • 2007 – Greg Dietz and Tom Potterton
  • 2004 – Steve Fasching
  • 2003 – Tom Hall and Don Zander
  • 2002 – Chuck Hastert

Prior to the current Outstanding Special Services Administrator (circa 2002), WCASS recognized continued the tradition of recognizing outstanding members with the Dan O'Sullivan Award (related to Pupil Services) and the John Melcher Award (related to Special Education). The John Melcher Award was originated through Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Education (WCASE), and the Dan O'Sullivan award was established by Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Pupil Services (WCAPS). The two organizations merged in 1994 to create WCASS.

Dan O'Sullivan Award

For participation in the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Pupil Services (WCAPS), service in the pupil services profession, development of innovative programs/practices, active participation in local and state legislative matters affecting pupil services, recognition at the state or national level for contributions to the pupil services profession, and professional contributions to colleagues.

  • 2000 – Eileen Dagen
  • 1998 – Tom Hall
  • 1997 – Gary Myrah
  • 1996 – John Gruenloh and Steve LaValee
  • 1992 – Dave Damgaard *
  • 1989 – James Santy * 
  • 1988 – Gary Myrah * 
  • 1987 – Dick Roth *
  • 1985 – Paul Halverson *
  • 1984 – Homer Howard *

    * awarded by WCAPS

This award was created by WCAPS to recognize outstanding performance by local directors. The award was named after Dan O'Sullivan, one of the founders of WCAPS, who participated on the Executive Board until his death in the early 1980s.

John Melcher Award

For participation in the Wisconsin Council of Adminstrators of Special Education (WCASE), service in special education, development of innovative programs/practices, active participation in local and state legislative matters affecting special education, recognition at the state or national level for contributions to special education, and professional contributions to colleagues.

  • 2002 - Chuck Hastert
  • 2001 – Sam Mulé
  • 2000 – Gary Myrah
  • 1999 – Dave Damgaard
  • 1998 – Jim Larson
  • 1997 – Dave Ament
  • 1996 – John Gruenloh and Steve LaValee
  • 1995 – Nissan Bar Lev
  • 1994 – Grant Rehder **
  • 1993 – Frank Roska **
  • 1992 – Jerry Bohern **
  • 1991 – Richard Hentschel **
  • 1990 – Jack Freehill **
  • 1989 – Barb Leadholm **
  • 1988 – Ed Hawkinson **
  • 1987 – Robert (Bob) Malsch **
  • 1986 – Richard (Dick) Ballou **
  • 1985 – Ed Hill **
  • 1984 – John Kotek **
  • 1983 – Phil Knobel **
  • 1982 – Alverna Robinson **
  • 1981 – Sam Milesky **
  • 1980 – Dan Mathias **
  • 1979 – Robert (Bob) Rucks **
  • 1978 – Dorothy Balliet **
  • 1977 – John Stadtmueller **

    * awarded by WCASE

This award was created by WCASE to recognize outstanding performance by local directors. The award was named after John Melcher, a leader in the development of special educational services to children with disabilities. His obituary captures his accomplishments:

John Melcher (1921-2012) was an Army Air Force veteran who received the Silver Star, a Purple Heart and Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters. He taught in Milwaukee Public Schools before being hired as Consulting Psychologist and Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. In 1956, he was promoted to Assistant State Superintendent of Schools with responsibility for all state programs for handicapped children including the state schools for the deaf and blind. John served on President Kennedy's Task Force on the Education of the Mentally Retarded in 1961, including a special mission to the Netherlands. In 1969, he was President of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, President of the Council for Exceptional Children, and served on President Nixon's Task Force on the Physically Handicapped. In 1972, he was a member of the U.S. State Department's Mission of the Handicapped to the Soviet Union. He was a lecturer at UW-Madison and UW-Whitewater and consulted with schools across the country.